Monday, August 29, 2011

Pasta with White Beans, Spinach, and Lemon (Gluten-Free!)

Lately I've been looking to the pasta world for some quick and easy one-dish meals. I've also had a mighty craving for cooked greens (especially chard and spinach). As I was looking across some old magazines, I came across the white bean-greens-tomato combo, and in an instant I knew I had to make something to that effect. As I scanned the kitchen for the main component of the dish, I rediscovered the last little bit of gluten-free pasta I had. Suddenly, my gluten-free pasta with white beans, spinach, and tomatoes (with lemon!) was born!

Give me a few days and I'll figure out how to get rid of that date!

Taking a moment to talk pasta here, I used to eat a ton of the stuff back in the day when I was a chubby kid. As I became more aware of how important good food is to a sound body, I gave up refined flours and along with it, pasta. I've tried whole wheat pastas in the past but I didn't care too much for their texture. Also, after not eating it for so long, it really wasn't a go-to ingredient any more. Enter quinoa pasta.

I love quinoa. In my kitchen right now, I have at least a couple quinoa products. Awhile back, my grocery store had some quinoa pasta on sale. I wasn't even thinking about it's gluten-free-ness, I just knew that it was quinoa and I'd like to try it out. It was great! It had a much better texture than whole wheat pasta, and it reminded me a lot of the pasta I had grown up on! It wasn't too heavy, it didn't have a weird texture or flavor, and best of all, its only ingredients were non-GMO organic corn flour and organic quinoa flour (at least with the Ancient Harvest brand). If you have only tried cooked quinoa and didn't care too much for its flavor, I still recommend this pasta. It has a much milder flavor when it is made into pasta (since quinoa can taste a little distinctive!). The only brand I've tried is Ancient Harvest, but I love all their varieties. I haven't bought pasta with gluten in it for a long time.

Photo from Ancient Harvest.

So, anywho. Before work today, I made my pasta dish, and I was surprised at how quickly it came together! It was literally ready to go in about 30 minutes, which is great because I know the majority of us are in a time-crunch. It's also low in fat, high in nutrients, and packs around 18 grams of protein per serving! This is definitely one of those proud moments in my vegan kitchen!

And did I mention it tastes awesome?? The sun-dried tomatoes add a bit of tang to the pasta, while the lemon juice and zest brighten the flavors of the beans and spinach. A garnish of toasted walnuts brings both satisfying crunch and heart healthy fats to the table. This recipe is going in my recipe rotation for sure! It will make two main-dish servings or four side-dish servings. I used roasted garlic because of the flavor it imparts and because I had a bulb ready-to-go in my fridge, but if you don't have the time (or desire, lol) to roast any garlic, feel free to use regular garlic.

Gluten-Free Pasta with White Beans, Spinach, and Lemon:
4 oz. gluten-free quinoa pasta (half a package)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 a bulb of roasted garlic (or 3-4 cloves, minced)
12 sun-dried tomato halves, packed without oil, and finely chopped
1 (15-oz) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 a (5 oz.) bag of baby spinach (about 3 cups)
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 Tb. grated lemon rind
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tb. chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Drizzle cooked pasta with the olive oil and toss to coat. Set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with some nonstick. Add pasta mixture, roasted garlic, tomatoes, and beans; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Stir in baby spinach, basil, lemon zest, juice, and salt. Cook another minute or until the spinach has wilted.

4. Serve each portion with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts, if desired! 

When served as a main dish (without walnuts), this dish has 423 calories, 4.3 grams of fat, 21.4 grams of fiber (!), 18.1 grams of protein, 72.7% of your daily Vitamin A, 28.1% of your daily Vitamin C, 15.7% of your daily Calcium, and 50.8% of your daily Iron. Adding 1 Tb. of chopped walnuts will add an additional 50 cals, 5 g. fat, and 2 g. protein.

I would definitely give this quick and easy dish a go!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the quinoa pasta. It is so tasty! I make everyone try it. I also dig the protein amounts. :)